Exercise | Dr. Forley
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Posts Tagged ‘exercise’


Sunday, September 20th, 2015

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s not too soon to be proactive in your diet and exercise regimen. This interesting graphic discusses things you should consider when thinking about weight loss vs. weight management.


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Friday, February 27th, 2015

A tummy tuck will remove excess fat and skin as well as tighten the muscles of the abdominal wall. To achieve the best long term outcome, muscle toning exercises must be part of the plan after the initial recovery period is completed. Usually by 6-8 weeks a program of exercise can be resumed.

Muscles of the TrunkThere are four main muscle groups that determine the contour and appearance of your abdomen: the rectus abdominis, the internal and external obliques, and the transversus abdominis. Increasing the strength and endurance of these muscles will contribute towards optimizing the appearance of your tummy after surgery. Training this muscle “core” with exercise produces a greater degree of coordination and synchronization of the muscles and thereby enhances their function.

It is important to keep in mind that exercising the core muscles will not specifically target fat deposits in the abdominal region. The way to maintain and improve upon localized fat deposits, such as those in the abdomen, is with a healthy diet that will benefit your whole body.

A few options to consider after you have been advised to resume exercise:

The Crunch

As Resistance Training Specialist Phil Arico at David Barton Gym in New York City put it, “The crunch is one of the better exercises to help in the development of abdominal muscle tone. It requires minimal movement, which leaves less margin for improper form and injury. By squeezing between the lower ribs and top of the pelvis, and pulling them together, you create the movement of a crunch. Each repetition should be slow and controlled to allow for more time under muscular tension, a key component in muscle toning.”

The lower back should remain on the floor when a crunch is properly performed. This makes the exercise more effective by isolating the abdominal muscles. The addition of a twist to the crunch movement, with alternate lifting of the shoulders, will add the oblique muscles to the strengthened abdominal wall.

The Plank

A good all around toning exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment and can easily be done at home. You can visualize the exercise by thinking of it as a push up in which you remain in the up position. In some versions, your hands remain directly under your shoulders while other methods keep your forearms on the mat while you elevate your body and hold the pose for up to one minute. Try to keep your body straight and do not allow your hips to drop.

The Stability Ball

Achieving balance on a stability ball engages multiple muscle groups at once. Adding the ball to your plank exercise will fast track your efforts. After lying on top of the ball, put your hands on the ground and allow the ball to roll beneath your thighs while walking your hands forward. Keep your body as straight and stable as you can for 30 seconds while squeezing your thighs and tightening your abs.

A professional trainer will best be able to assist you in safely achieving the optimal results from your exercise efforts.

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Exercise and the Brain

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Exercise and the BrainExercise, an essential part of good cardiovascular health, is now recognized as a contributor to maintaining a healthy and youthful brain. We were born with a finite number of brain cells and cannot grow more of them. However, the act of learning, memorizing, or becoming familiar with something is the establishment of connections between nerve cells. As we grow older, brain cells will atrophy and die from lack of use. The loss of brain cells inhibits our memory and ability to learn new things.

Many laboratory studies suggest that exercise stimulates nerve growth factors and stem cells. Brain function is improved by an increased interconnection between cells known as neurons, which use electrical and chemical signals to process and transmit information. There is even evidence that seems to indicate resistance training with weights and aerobic activities like running may affect different parts of the brain.

Cardiovascular exercise combined with activities that require coordination or strategizing, such as dance classes or circuit training with high intensity aerobics, can maximize the benefits to your brain. Exercise that requires us to apply accuracy and precision in movement will promote motor learning with a resultant increase in cross-links between brain cells. The ancient Chinese practice of improving balance and coordination with “retro walking”, walking backwards, has been advocated to improve cognition through the additional demands it places on the brain with different patterns of muscle activation. With a little practice, you can do this safely on a StairMaster or treadmill as part of your efforts to remain vibrant and youthful well into old age.


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Sunday, August 11th, 2013


TigerStretching is thought to have anti-aging benefits that will help to counteract some of the physical changes that take place in our body. Over time the aging process can affect our agility due to increased amounts of calcium deposits that produce a decrease in mobility from adherence of body tissue. Fragmentation and dehydration of muscles may occur with a loss of suppleness resulting from the replacement of muscle fibers with fatty, collagenous fibers. Although muscular and joint flexibility can be improved by the elongation and contraction of muscle fibers when exercising,stretching provides another potential way to benefit muscles and the surrounding tissue.

Even though many fitness professionals are advocates of stretching, it remains somewhat controversial. Opinions vary as to the recommended types of stretching (e.g. dynamic, active, passive, static, or isometric) as well as when or if to stretch, the indications for stretching, and the benefits that will result from stretching.


Stretching prior to working out is thought to increase muscle strength during the actual exercise activity. It is also said that stretching following exercise will help break down lactic acid, the byproduct of exercise in muscles. This is important because lactic acid is a waste product and inhibits the muscle from reaching its full potential. Another belief is that stretching will increase general flexibility and speed up the rehabilitation process of damaged tissue. It is felt that by stretching muscles to their full length, a reorganization of the fibers is achieved which enables the process of recovery of overused and injured tissue.


Those who caution against stretching believe that it could be harmful as a result of pulling the muscle fibers apart, resulting in micro-trauma. Some say stretching prior to working out might be counterproductive by impairing the ability for explosive muscle force and prolonging muscle recovery time. In addition, people could unknowingly stretch the wrong structures and actually hurt themselves. A nerve might be impaired in an effort to stretch adjacent muscles.

Despite the controversy, a recent review of 106 studies (Med Sci Sports Exerc 2012 Jan;44(1):154-64) concludes that static stretching (stretching a muscle and then holding that position without moving) is safe when it is not done excessively and is performed for no more than 60 seconds. A consensus believes that muscle tightness, loosening up the tendons and joints, and general flexibility can be maintained, or even increased, with any stretching method that is implemented within a tolerable range of motion. This will allow the tissue to reorganize itself, recover, and be ready for the next activity, especially when performed after a workout, since the blood flow in the muscles is increased and waste products can be eliminated.

The benefits of maintaining healthy muscles, tendons, and joints warrants incorporating stretching within an anti-aging strategy. In our next blog, we will discuss examples of static stretches that you can perform safely.


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Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns, resulting in an excess proportion of total body fat. For many people this amounts to eating too much and exercising too little. The American diet is high in sugar, fat, and salt. It is no surprise that obesity has become an epidemic in the United States when an unhealthy diet is combined with a sedentary lifestyle. However, several other factors play a role in obesity. These may include: age, gender, genetics, environmental factors, psychological factors, medications, and illness.

A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI. A person is considered overweight if his or her BMI is between 25 and 29.9; a person is considered obese if his or her BMI is over 30.

To measure your BMI:

BMI = Weight (lb) / (Height (in) x Height (in)) x 703 For example: if your weight is 170 and your height is 5’6” (66”), then the calculation is: (170/662) x 703 = 27.4


© 2012 Copyright – The Endocrine Society

Statistics published in January 2012 by the Centers for Disease Control show that 35.7% of U.S. adults and 16.9% of children are obese. In 2000, no state had an obesity prevalence of 30% or more. In 2009, nine states had an obesity rate of 30% or more and in 2010 this obesity rate has increased to 12 states.

Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults. If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.

Obese children are more likely to have:

  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2-diabetes.
  • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma.
  • Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.
  • Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn).
  • Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.

It is important for your doctor to evaluate your calorie intake, exercise activities, medical history, and family history in determining how best to manage a weight problem. A comprehensive program of diet and exercise is the first remedy that should be considered to treat obesity. In recent years, a variety of surgical choices for treating obesity have been popularized.

Next, we will discuss the different types of weight loss surgery options and the guidelines used to determine if someone should consider undergoing these procedures.

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Friday, November 25th, 2011

Lack of exercise is a major factor that contributes to the onset of many of the infirmities associated with the aging process. It is estimated that muscle mass declines about 22% in women and men between the ages of 30 and 70. Inactivity leads to the loss of muscle tone and strength. As your muscles deteriorate, your posture changes and your tissues sag due to the lack of underlying support provided by a strong, toned musculature. Lack of exercise can also lead to cardiac and metabolic related health problems, such as diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle results in a decrease in bone density that can alter the vertebrae of the spine in a way that produces a loss of height and chronic pain. Bones and joints become more fragile leading to an increased risk of fractures and joint replacement surgery.

Modifications in our behavior can have a significant impact on how well we face the aging process. For those that want to look and feel younger, exercise is key to maintaining not only a healthy, youthful appearance but also a positive outlook on life. Taking the time to care for your body through a regular exercise schedule will reduce the consequences of aging. Below, we list four topics to consider when deciding on an exercise program to keep you fit, youthful, and healthy.

Weight Management and Exercise
Excess body fat is common in today’s world. Little of what we do requires rigorous physical activity, and most of our leisure time is spent in front of the computer or television. Results from the 2007–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 34.2% of U.S. adults aged 20 years and over are overweight, 33.8% are obese, and 5.7% are extremely obese. Excess body fat can lead to health problems such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and arthritis. Obesity can have a negative impact on both health and longevity. A routine exercise program is important to enable you to lose weight or to maintain your current healthy body weight. A minimum of thirty minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week or twenty minutes of vigorous physical activity three days a week is a good starting point. Read our blog for suggestions on exercises you can do at home.


Bone Density and Exercise
It is normal to lose and replace calcium in your bones throughout life. However, after age 35 the loss of calcium begins to exceed the replacement. Menopause increases the rate of this calcium deficit in women. You can improve your bone health and bone density by exercising. Three characteristics of exercise that have the largest impact on increased bone density are: 1.) strain magnitude of the exercise such as gymnastics or weightlifting, where the force or impact of the exercise is greatest 2.) strain rate of the exercise such as jump training, known as plyometrics, where the rate at which the impact is felt is high and 3.) strain frequency of the exercise such as running, where the impact to the bones occurs repeatedly during the exercise session. The combination of these three aspects of exercise play a role in developing greater bone density in as little as 12 to 20 minutes of weight-bearing exercise, three days a week. This type of activity appears to stimulate bone formation and retain calcium in the bones that are bearing the load. The force of muscles pulling against bones stimulates this bone-building process. So any exercise that places force on a bone will strengthen that bone and counter the tendency to develop osteoporosis as we get older.

Physiological Health and Exercise
An inactive lifestyle is one of the major risk factors in the development of cardiovascular disease, as outlined by the American Heart Association. Evidence from many scientific studies shows that exercise can decrease the chance of having a heart attack, a stroke, or needing heart surgery. The benefits of regular exercise on cardiovascular risk factors are an increase in exercise tolerance, reduction in body weight, reduction in blood pressure, reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol, increase in good (HDL) cholesterol, and a reduction in adult onset diabetes. The physiological benefits of exercise are the improvements in muscular function and strength and improvement in the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. As one’s ability to transport and use oxygen improves, regular daily activities can be performed with less fatigue. This is particularly important for patients with cardiovascular disease, whose exercise capacity is typically lower than that of healthy individuals. There is also evidence that exercise training improves the capacity of the blood vessels to dilate in response to exercise or hormones, consistent with better vascular wall function and an improved ability to provide oxygen to the muscles during exercise.


Mental Health and Exercise
One theory for some of the benefits of exercise is that it triggers the production of endorphins. These natural opiates are chemically similar to morphine. They may be produced as natural pain relievers in response to the shock that the body receives during exercise. Some studies have found that exercise boosts activity in the brain’s frontal lobes and the hippocampus. Exercise has also been found to increase levels of “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” (BDNF). This substance is thought to improve mood, and it may play a role in the beneficial effects of exercise. BDNF’s primary role seems to be to help brain cells survive longer, so this may also explain some of the beneficial effects of exercise on reducing the risk of dementia.

The bottom line is that most of us feel good after exercise, which is a strong incentive to make this age-defying activity a part of your daily routine.

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